Madeline Smith '17 Named National Merit Semifinalist
Posted 10/19/2016 11:31AM

Madeline Smith '17 has been named a semifinalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program. She earned this designation by scoring in the top 1% of the 1.6 million juniors nationwide who took the 2015 PSAT. She is now eligible to continue in the competition for scholarships and designation as a National Merit Scholar. Winners will be announced between May and July 2017.


“She is a terrific student in all classes who has excelled in languages and as a violinist and dancer,” said Upper School Principal Peggy Daniels. Madeline was awarded the National Security Language Initiative for Youth Scholarship. She participated in a six-week homestay in Rabat, Morocco while taking daily Arabic classes. The granted scholarship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State as part of a government initiative that prepares American citizens to be global leaders. Madeline is heavily involved in community organizations, including the Honor Council, Diversity Committee, Environmental Resources Club, as well as the Asheville Symphony Youth Orchestra.


National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) was established in 1955 — a time in which there was concern that the United States was lagging behind in the cold war scientific race, but the public was indifferent to rewarding intellectual accomplishment. In response, the National Merit Scholarship Program was founded to identify and honor scholastically talented American youth and to encourage them to develop their abilities to the fullest. Through this nationwide competition National Merit Scholarships are awarded to program Finalists and Special Scholarships are awarded to other high performing participants who meet a corporate sponsor's eligibility criteria.

In 1964, contemporaneously with the passage of the Civil Rights Act, the National Achievement Scholarship Program was initiated specifically to identify academically promising Black American youth and encourage their pursuit of higher education. With the conclusion of the 2015 program, the National Achievement Scholarship Program transitioned to UNCF. Approximately 228,000 students have been recognized in the program and about 34,300 were chosen to receive Achievement Scholarship awards.

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